Capitol kicks off funding effort


The Capitol Arts Complex, consisting of the historic theatre as well as Cinema Capitol, will begin its fundraising campaign to support its restoration, Executive Director Art Pierce announced in a press conference this morning.

The theatre is seeking $1.5 million in donations from the public to reach its $5.25 million goal, having raised already $3.75 million during the “quiet phase” of the fundraiser from “grants, foundations and corporate

The Capitol will also receive $2.5 million from the city’s $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative award, the single largest allocation of any DRI project.

“Today, we are starting our public campaign to procure these funds,” Pierce said this morning. “We will be engaging in various activities to create awareness for our project, including a restoration open house next month, date to be announced.”

The restoration work will include the recreation of the theatre’s original 1928 marquee and vertical blade sign — described by Romans of the 1920s and 1930s as a “beacon of the street” in the city’s downtown.

The historic theatre is also slated for roof and facade repair, seat replacement and restoration, and authentic recreation of its 1939 carpeting and wall fabric.

“In conjuction with the work to be performed at the historic Capitol, one of the recently acquired buildings which is directly behind the Cinema Capitol building will be renovated into a multipurpose space to be used for exhibitions, rehearsals, and performances on a smaller scale than those that are often seen on the Capitol’s main stage,” Pierce said.

Theatre management also used to occasion to announce its rebranding as the Capitol Arts Complex, reflecting the venue’s growing and diverse programming schedule.

“It has been recognized that the name ‘Cinema Capitol’ is no longer adequate to describe the multi-facility performance center that we have become,” Pierce explained.

“’Capitol Theatre’ will still be used to describe the historic building you’re in now, and the complex will now be called the Capitol Arts Complex.”

According to Pierce, the theatre saw declining use after reopening as Capitol Civic Center in 1985, holding only 17 performances in the year 2001.

By 2010, that number reached 100 events. Today, with the addition of Capitol Cinema next door, where first-run independent films are screened every day of the year, the complex holds more than 1,000 events annually.

“Combined with the shows at the historic Capitol, the complex offers more than 1,400 shows annually, which is on par with the number of shows the Capitol Theatre did during our years as a first-run movie house in the so-called golden age of Hollywood, in the ‘30s,, ‘40s and ‘50s,” Pierce said.


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